Monday, September 4, 2017

Strange Brew (1983)

Directed by: Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas
Run time: 90 minutes

A clause in the Canadian Broadcasting Act that, in theory, ensures a certain percentage of all public broadcasting is content made in Canada. In practice this clause is sometimes used by narrow minded bureaucrats license to be narrow minded twits. Case in point Second City Television. SCTV was filmed in Canada and the majority of the cast and crew were Canadian. The only way the show could have been any more Canadian by making your TV bleed maple syrup when the show was on. The Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC) didn't see it that way.

SCTV was set in the fictional American city of Mellonville and the CBC wanted a segment that was easily identified as Canadian. In response Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas slapped on some toques, moved the empty beer bottles from the writers room to a set, and inadvertently created two iconic characters. This led to the characters becoming the most popular segment on SCTV, which led to a couple of comedy records that sold well, and they were successful enough to get their own movie. But how do you make a feature length film centered around two joke bit characters? By borrowing the narrative from Hamlet and making Bob and Doug McKenzie the bit characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

The movie opens with Bob and Doug showing off their new set. Which is the old set but filmed with a wider lens so you can see all the empty beer boxes in all their glory. They also got a full orchestral version of The Great White North theme song but Doug still has to preform it. With the technical improvements and useful life hack of bringing moths to a movie theater it's time to start the movie. An eight millimeter no budget sci-fi epic that only runs for a minute before breaking down. In the theater showing this movie, the audience is enraged by the obvious rip off of a movie.

Bob and Doug McKenzie were in the audience and use the chaos to escape the angry mob. They almost escape but are stopped by protagonist kryptonite, a pair of crying children who had used their allowance to see the McKenzie Brother's movie. Feeling sorry for the kids Bob hands over fifteen dollars, their Dad's beer money, to the kids so they can make their escape.  Without beer and the money to get more beer the Brother's are forced to part in the actual plot of the movie.

There is something rotten at the Elsinore Brewery and the Brewmaster Smith (Max Von Sydow) is somehow behind it. The brewery has fired nearly all the staff, installed extensive surveillance system, and the Brewmaster is conducting bizarre experiments. Worse, the president of the brewery died in a tragic accident and the leftovers from the funeral feast have been used for the wedding banquet for the president's brother and his widowed wife. To complicate matters the president's daughter Pam now owns fifty one percent of the brewery and has left school to sort out what evil is afoot at the brewery. With the aid of the brewery foreman, a former hockey star that had a nervous breakdown, and the McKenzie Brothers they stumble about and solve who is behind the Elsinore brewery foul state.

It's a fun movie. The material doesn't take itself too seriously and the cast are acting as if this how reality works while the most surreal things happen all around them. Also the McKenzie Brothers characters are not unnecessarily padded to make them the center of the movie. The only complaint I have is how the film tends to drag when the McKenzie Brothers go over board with how stupid they are at some points. It happens at a few times and is more of a personal issue than anything else. This is a solid rental and or streaming film and worth watching if it shows up on cable and the like.

MVT: Bob and Doug taking turns using the electroshock therapy machine on each other.

Make or Break: What made it for me was the McKenzie Brother accidentally drive their van into Lake Ontario. When the police diver discovers they have been using empty beer bottles to store air he doesn't try to get them out of the van. Instead the police diver hits them up for driver's license and registration.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

No comments:

Post a Comment